The 10 highest-grossing animated movies starring people of color

Coco, Big Hero 6, and Moana

Hollywood still has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to featuring diverse characters as the lead roles in animated films. (Or at least not having Black characters turned into something non-human for the majority of the film.) Still, I thought I’d look at the 10 highest-grossing Western animated films starring people of color.


Figures are taken from The Numbers website as of October 19, 2022. I’m only looking at theatrically released films, not direct-to-video fare. Box office figures are for the worldwide box office, and aren’t adjusted for inflation. Finally, I’m just looking at Western animation, not anime.

The top 10 films by box office

Mulan DVD cover
“Mulan.” (Disney)
  1. “Coco” (2017), $797,666,425
  2. “Big Hero 6” (2014), $648,415,024
  3. “Moana” (2016), $631,617,146
  4. “Aladdin” (1992), $504,050,219
  5. “Home” (2015), $385,997,896
  6. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (2018), $375,516,704
  7. “Pocahontas” (1995), $347,100,000
  8. “Mulan” (1998), $303,500,000
  9. “The Princess and the Frog” (2009), $270,997,378
  10. “Brother Bear” (2003), $250,397,798

By reviews

The above films sorted by their Rotten Tomatoes ratings:

  • “Coco” (2017), 97% (fresh)
  • “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (2018), 97% (fresh)
  • “Moana” (2016), 95% (fresh)
  • “Aladdin” (1992), 95% (fresh)
  • “Big Hero 6” (2014), 90% (fresh)
  • “Mulan” (1998), 85% (fresh)
  • “The Princess and the Frog” (2009), 85% (fresh)
  • “Pocahontas” (1995), 55% (rotten)
  • “Home” (2015), 52% (rotten)
  • “Brother Bear” (2003), 37% (rotten)

The above films sorted by their Metacritic scores:

  • “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (2018), 87
  • “Aladdin” (1992), 86
  • “Moana” (2016), 81
  • “Coco” (2017), 81
  • “Big Hero 6” (2014), 74
  • “The Princess and the Frog” (2009), 73
  • “Mulan” (1998), 71
  • “Pocahontas” (1995), 58
  • “Home” (2015), 55
  • “Brother Bear” (2003), 48


Spider-Man into the Spider-verse poster
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” (Marvel/Sony)

The top-grossing film is Pixar’s “Coco” from 2017. A well-liked film, it also won the 2018 Oscars for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.

Only two films in the list weren’t made by Disney or Pixar: “Home” (DreamWorks) and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (Sony). Ironically, the latter’s star character is owned by Disney (via Marvel).

Three of the films have their lead star turn into some other creature for most of the film: “Coco,” “The Princess and the Frog,” and “Brother Bear.”

Two of the films have been criticized for problematic elements, “Aladdin” and “Pocahontas.” “Aladdin” saw a live-action 2019 remake, which earned vastly more than its animated predecessor ($1.051 billion). Meanwhile, “Pocahontas” is occasionally referenced by Disney (and is still part of the “Disney Princess” line). However, given its numerous problems—from its questionable treatment of history, as “Adam Ruins Everything” points out, to Mel Gibson as a voice actor—I can’t see it ever getting a live-action remake.

Speaking of remakes, “Mulan” also got a live-action remake in 2020. However, it only earned $70 million at the box office due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and was mostly seen via a release to Disney+.

The highest-grossing animated film starring a Black character is DreamWorks’ “Home.” The film sees the main character, Tip (voiced by singer Rihanna) team up with a friendly alien, Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons) to reunite Tip with her mother, and save the Earth. The film later got a TV series on Netflix.

Finally, “Big Hero 6” also appeared in my list of top-earning superhero films starring people of color.

Image, left to right: “Coco” (Pixar); “Big Hero 6” (Disney); and “Moana” (Disney).

Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

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